There is no doubt that the growth of technology has had some powerful benefits for the world as a whole, but there is a dark side to these advances as well. With computer technology changing so rapidly, there has been a proliferation of old computers, monitors, printers and other pieces of equipment in landfills In addition these scrap items are also shipped to the developing world for disposal, where the heavy metals and other toxins seep into the environment and cause health problems for the indigenous population. Computers, monitors and printers may look harmless, but they often contain very dangerous components, including lead and mercury.
Given these environmental risks, it is important for all computer owners to be as green and environmentally conscious as possible. There are many ways computer users can lessen their impact on the environment without sacrificing the speed, computing power or convenience they need. From making sure old equipment is properly disposed of to recycling rechargeable batteries and toner cartridges, there are many things computer owners can do to have a positive impact on the environment.
Know What Can and Should be Recycled
Fortunately there are many computer it ems that can be recycled, and many organizations have sprung up to make this recycling easier. Rechargeable batteries, from the AA and AAA batteries used in digital cameras to the larger batteries found in laptop and notebook computers, can and should be recycled, and recycling centers are available at many electronics retailers and office supply stores. Consumers should keep an eye out as they shop – stores will often set up convenient bins where consumers can drop off their batteries for recycling.
Toner and ink jet cartridges can also be recycled, and many vendors will even provide a prepaid return label to make returning used cartridges easier. When changing a toner cartridge or inkjet cartridge be sure to look in the box for a return label, and use that label to return the used product. If no label is provided you may be able to print one at the company’s website. Just log on to the website and look for a recycling link. Even if no labels are available, many places collect those used cartridges for recycling and refilling, so be sure to look for collection bins at your favorite office supply store.
Vote With Your Dollars
When it comes to the environment, consumers have more clout than they realize, and one of the best things consumers can do is vote with their dollars When looking for a new computer, monitor or printer, examine the environmental record of each vendor you are considering, then buy from the one with the best track record of environmental responsibility. With so much focus on green technology and environmental impact, many companies are trying to be better corporate citizens. Consumers can reward those pioneers by choosing to buy their products, while shunning products made by less environmentally conscious companies.
The environment is a subject every consumer should be concerned about, and there are ways each of us can make a real difference. By changing the way we shop for, use and dispose of computers and other technological products, consumers can have a positive impact on the environment while still enjoying the latest gadgets and gizmos.